Image by Isabel del Rio: Gunnersbury Park, West London-UK
It is the duty of writers to see and foresee, to warn and enlighten. Fraught as the world is with wars and pandemics, the role of the writer must perhaps be reviewed, for even the lightest fiction can no longer be limited to sheer escapism. Writers are nothing if not the guardians of History.
كلمة إيزابيل دَلْ ريو
وعدستها، غنرزبري بارك، غرب لندن-إنكلترا
نبذة عن المقال
من واجب الكاتب أن يرى ويتنبأ، يحذّر وينوّر. فلعلّ دوره يحتاج إلى إعادة نظر لاسيّما في عالمٍ مشحون بالحروب والأوبئة حتى أنّ الأدب القصصي بأبسط خيالاته وأعقدها عاجز عن الهروب من الواقع الذي نعيش. الكاتب إذاً هو الوصيّ على التأريخ.
So here we are, in the midst of a maelstrom engendered by terrible events: broken political promises, as the less unfortunate of such events, and belligerence and aggression, as the more catastrophic. Ours is but a hyperreal era in which, without having totally overcome a massive pandemic, we enter yet another horrifying and unjust war.
War has never ceased to exist in our civilisation as it sadly defines human culture almost more than any other trait. Despite our creative and altruistic endeavours, on countless instances we have proven to be an indefensibly aggressive species. If we are so badly affected by the present horrifying war in Ukraine, as terrible as it is, the reason is possibly that it hits closer to home. Heartbreakingly there are many other warmongering transgressions happening elsewhere in the world as we speak, further from home but proportionately devastating.
At this moment of crisis, questions are being asked about the point of art in general and literary writing in particular, since the prognosis of the world at present is not good. Now more than ever is the time for writers to look out for warning signs and tell it as it is, since to practice the art of writing is to take a stand first and foremost. Writers must continue to denounce, loudly and clearly, all that is wrong, but especially whatever leads us inevitably to the destruction of the known world, which is what is happening at present through these innumerable acts of violence, treachery, and belligerence.
Fictional stories are indeed inventive musings yet also rational considerations, proven foundations, and documented observations as well. To foresee the future via literature is not solely an act of imagination, but a piece of research both beautifully fantastical and thoroughly documented. A question that arises, and this is a moral question, is whether fiction should always be about the truth and nothing but the truth. At times like these, lighter alternatives inspiring writers to write (with the resulting escapist, entertaining, distracting, and self-deceiving narratives) may have to be reconsidered. Yes, we need more uplifting and valiant rhetoric but fewer pretty narratives with happy endings whether from writers or from politicians.
Writers must take the pulse of our civilisation and anticipate what may happen if we persist in continuing along this calamitous route of destruction of both ourselves and our beloved planet, a route centred more on the needs of multinational enterprises or wealthy elites and hardly on saving most humans. For centuries, sci-fi and fantasy writers have tried to predict the future, and they have not been proven wrong on so many occasions. If only we had listened to these visionaries who warned against annihilation, exploitation, extermination, horror, and tiered societies that favoured only a select few. Several names come to mind, but such a list can never be exhaustive: Orwell, Wells, Huxley, Atwood, Swift, Clarke, Adams, Bradbury, Shelley, Gibson, Poe, Dick… It was not only fiction they wrote, but declarations and testimonies of both anticipation and admonishment. Perhaps this is the time for writers, but also readers, to stop pursuing facile escapism and engage in forewarning and foretelling before it becomes too late.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- *Material should not be published in another periodical before at least one year has elapsed since publication in Whispering Dialogue. *أن لا يكون النص قد تم نشره في أي صحيفة أو موقع أليكتروني على الأقل (لمدة سنة) من تاريخ النشر. *All content © 2021 Whispering Dialogue or respective authors and publishers, and may not be used elsewhere without written permission. جميع الحقوق محفوظة للناشر الرسمي لدورية (هَمْس الحِوار) Whispering Dialogue ولا يجوز إعادة النشر في أيّة دورية أخرى دون أخذ الإذن من الناشر مع الشكر الجزيل